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Posts from the ‘Vietnam ’09’ Category

Vietnam last hurrah: Seeing to unfinished business

I was left conflicted after an experience at the start of my trip. One of my reasons for visiting Vietnam was to see where dad had been based during his tour of duty between 1967-68 with one of the New Zealand rifle companies. I organised a private day trip from Saigon out to Phuoc Tuy Province and did manage to see everything I wanted to… except the site of the 1st Australian Task Force camp, the place where up to 5,000 Aussies and Kiwis had been based. (Aerial photo) Read more

Vietnam: 26~Da Nang on two wheels

I didn’t know much about Da Nang, and the scant knowledge I did have was down to war related associations portrayed on televisions shows when I was growing up. Before the trip a light bit of research indicated it would be worth a brief stop-off. The usual see, snap and run.

My uninspiring but cheap hotel was about 10km away from the beachfront. After arriving off the train I went to investigate the other side of the Han River and for the first time during the trip I was aware of locals eyeing me like the unusual sight I guess I was. The riverfront area was quite appealing and beyond it I found local neighbourhoods well off the beaten path for the majority of tourists. Read more

Vietnam: 25~Hue to Da Nang by train

I have a bit of a thing for train journeys so had wanted to work in a ride on the Reunification Express. Planning determined that this would be just the short stint from Hue to Da Nang which didn’t seem long enough but was better than nothing. Read more

Vietnam: 24~Two stabs at Hue’s Imperial City

After returning from the DMZ tour I had the afternoon to explore Hue before heading south the next day. Half a day wasn’t much but the only thing I wanted to do was return to the old walled city. Read more

Vietnam: 23~DMZ Tour part two

I returned in a very hot and sweaty state to the blessed air conditioning of the car and was whisked off to the Truong Son national cemetery. Here more than 10,000 NVA are buried. It has the uniformity and order of a military cemetery, neat rows split up into sections based on province, but without the grace and beauty of say Arlington or Tyne Cot. Each identical headstone has an incense holder and scattered around are temples for worshipping in. Read more

Vietnam: 22~DMZ Tour part one

A priority of mine for the trip was to find some sites from the Vietnam-American War to get a feel for locations and landscapes. I had ticked a few things off already, the most significant being a partially successful trip out to where dad had been based with the main contingent of Kiwis and Aussies in South Vietnam. From Hue I was able to book a 1.5 day tour of the old demilitarised zone between the North and South. This wasn’t a directly relevant area for the New Zealanders but was extremely prominent for the US. Read more

Vietnam: 21~Hue via the Hai Van Pass

To get to Hue I decided to go by road over the Hai Van Pass.

There is a tunnel route which saves something like an hour from the journey, but the pass road is more scenic with more interesting features. It also gives you an appreciation (if that’s the right word) of driving in Vietnam. Read more

Vietnam contd: 20~My Son ruins & Hoi An farewell

I was making it through a long day following a big night out. Early that morning I was picked up on a pre-arranged private tour to My Lai where a massacre took place during the Vietnam War. Now it was the afternoon and we were heading north back to Hoi An. Read more

Vietnam: 19~Site of the massacre at My Lai

Everyone else had a low key sort of day planned, a very sensible idea after the previous night’s activities. But one thing I wanted to see while based in Hoi An involved a day trip by car, and I had scheduled that into this particular day. What I didn’t plan was doing this on three hours sleep, especially as the day began with a three hour drive south! Read more

Vietnam: 18~A birthday party and some local night life

After the visit to the markets and the cooking school, the evening was reserved for the birthday party.

Danielle and Mark, the tour organisers and friends from way back, both had 40th birthdays on the horizon and this night was the official party. The last few days had been building up to it and with the birthday boy and girl both having extensive hospitality backgrounds, this was always going to be an impressive occasion. Read more

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